Cost of Living in Mexico | Gringo’s Go-To Guide

Most posts highlighting the cost of living in Mexico rave about how cheap it is.

How you can live a great life for next to nothing all while enjoying tropical paradise.

This won’t be one of those posts, although Mexico certainly can be cheap.

Te lo juro.

Why? Because I didn’t move to a foreign country to scrape by for pennies on the dollar. You shouldn’t either.

There’s nothing wrong with saving a little money here and there.

But attempting to live in a third-world country for cheap, where locals view you as a rich American…

Well, that just doesn’t seem right to me.

That’s not the point of this whole expat or digital nomad thing. At least not for me. I didn’t move away from home to live a lower quality of life than I had back at the crib.

Nope.

I moved south of the border to enjoy the finer things on the cheap. I wanted to take advantage of the low cost of living in Mexico but in the right way.

The good news?

That’s pretty easy to do these days.

Luxurious apartments with ocean views can be had for $25-40 USD per night. Beachfront seafood dinners can be found for $10-12 bucks. Delicious street food tacos only cost $1 apiece.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Below you’ll find everything I know about cost of living in Mexico after spending months upon months in the country.

I cover things like:

Just click the specific link to be taken to the section of your choosing.

If you’re looking for a general overview of cost of living in Mexico, just keep on reading. It’s all below.

¡Vámonos!

Just click here to learn more.

Cost of Living in Mexico

Enough with me semantics.

Let’s dig into the rice and beans of this bad boy.

Let’s take a look at any and all costs you’ll encounter while living in Mexico.

It’s still cheap south of the border, but things have changed the past few years:

  • Overview

Before we dive deeper, let’s talk a little more about living in Mexico in the costs.

Mexico is a massive country of nearly 130 million people.

There’s big cities, beach towns, and everything in between.

Cost of living will greatly vary by what part of Mexico you’re in and what type of neighborhood you want to live in.

While you could live cheaply in Mexico City by keeping away from the Condesa or Polanco areas, I wouldn’t want to.

While you could live cheaply in Mazatlan by staying away from the beach tourist areas, I wouldn’t want to.

The same goes for cities like Guadalajara, Playa del Carmen, and just about anywhere else you’ll go in Mexico.

Below I’ll compare costs I encounter while living and visiting cities like CDMX, Guadalajara, and Mazatlan.

I stayed in the nicest neighborhoods in the cities.

I didn’t try to be overly cheap.

My goal was to live a high standard of life and enjoy my time in Mexico. My costs reflect that.

I certainly didn’t spend a ton of money, but I never came close to not spending more than a few grand a month.

A far cry from many a blogger living off of $800 bucks a month.

So…

You can live in Mexico for much cheaper than I did. Just FYI.

Would I recommend it?

Not exactly. Here’s why:

In my opinion, Mexico is still fairly safe for foreign travelers.

But that’s typically because they’re able to stay in upscale neighborhoods where rich locals live and a police presence is always around.

I wouldn’t want to live in a Mexican barrio because my budget wasn’t good enough to get a decent spot in a great location.

  • Getting There

One of my favorite things about living in Mexico is how easy it is to get to and around the country.

Mexico is by far the easiest Latin American country for Americans to travel to due to the proximity.

Flights to Mexico City and Cancun only cost $200-400 roundtrip from almost anywhere in the continental United States. Many of them are direct.

This makes it incredibly cheap to get to Mexico.

Even without travel hacking, you shouldn’t have to break the bank to find your way to Mexico.

Once arriving in Mexico City or Cancun, there’s a number of budget airlines operating within the country.

You can find one-ways to every small city in the country from Mexico City for $50-150 USD max.

Airlines like:

  • Interjet
  • Volaris
  • Viva Aerobus

The quality of these airlines does vary, though. You’ve been warned.

We’re talking the Spirit Airlines of Mexico here, y’all.

  • How Much Does an Apartment Cost

When traveling around or living in Mexico, your lodging will usually be the biggest expense.

Rent in Mexico can vary from dirt cheap to damn expensive. It all depends on where you are, what neighborhood you’re in, and the amenities found at your place.

For comparison’s sake, I’ll break down three different places I stayed in Mexico.

My apartments in Mexico City, Mazatlan, and Guadalajara.

~ Mexico City ~

My apartment in Mexico City was in the Condesa neighborhood. This is one of the nicer areas in CDMX.

I rented the place with a buddy for around three weeks.

We paid $49 USD a night. This included all utilities, Internet, fees, and more.

So about $25 per person for a private room and bathroom in a great location.

The apartment would rent for around $1,100-1,300 a night depending on your negotiating skills.

Check it out here:


~ Mazatlan ~

My apartment in Mazatlan was located in Zona Dorada, one of the best areas of the city.

For around $1,900 a month, my friend and I split a luxurious two-bedroom, two-bath with amazing Pacific Ocean views.

It was one of the nicer apartments I had ever stayed in long-term.

At $950 a month per person, the place felt like a steal. Ideal located, beautiful furnishings, fast Internet, and ocean views.

This apartment was featured in the video here:


~ Guadalajara ~

You could definitely live cheaper in Guadalajara than you could in Mexico City.

I paid under $30 a night for a studio apartment in the absolute best neighborhood of GDL, the Chapultepec area.

The place didn’t come with as great of furnishings as my apartment in Mazatlan but did have a pool and relaxing courtyard area.

On a monthly rental, I believe you could find a nice place in Guadalajara for $450-750 a month.

Here’s a pic of my morning views in Guadalajara:

  • Mexican Food Budget

¡Dios Mio!

Mexican food is truly a delight.

After eating the bland flavors found throughout Colombia for over a year, the cuisine in Mexico was great.

Overall, I’d say Mexico offers the best food in all of Latin America.

I’m more than a fan.

Although the stuff isn’t exactly healthy unless you’re sticking with some of the fresh seafood options.

Cost-wise…

Food in upscale grocery stores isn’t that much cheaper than it is in the United States. Maybe only 10-20% cheaper for locally grown produce and meats.

Plus, imports tend to be more far more expensive than they are back home.

However, you can save a lot of money when eating in Mexico. Here’s how:

  • Go to the local markets: In Mazatlan, I could get a kilogram of fresh tuna medallions for $7 USD. Five tuna steaks for $7 bucks. That’s a steal! The produce at the markets was also about half of what you’d pay at a grocery store in the USA.
  • Street food for days: One easy way to eat cheaply in Mexico is the street food vendors. Every city I went to in Mexico offered street tacos for cheap. Often, they were delicious and offered a whole lot of protein. I could usually get a pretty filling meal at these carts for $3-4 USD. My favorite? The marlin ranchero tacos!
  • Fine dining daily: I found that eating at nice restaurants in Mexico didn’t cost me an arm and a leg like back home. In fact, it was common to get great meals and a drink for under $15 USD – including tips. Meals that would cost $40+ back home. I’m talking a couple swordfish tacos and a fresh piece of tuna while sitting oceanside. If you’re ever in Mazatlan, go to La Mazalteca. Seriously.

Ceviche in Teacapan.

  • Cost of Nightlife in Mexico

Mexico is one hell of a place to enjoy a little rumba.

For detailed information, check out my guides on Mexico City nightlife and Mazatlan nightlife.

The locals know how to have a good time and you’re sure to find some foreigners enjoying a night out, too.

Nightlife costs vary from city to city.

In places like Mazatlan and Guadalajara, many bars offer beers for $20 pesos or around a dollar. Mixed drinks are only $2-3 bucks.

Cover charges in clubs range from nothing to $3-7 USD in these types of places. Sometimes free.

A bottle of tequila or rum would never set you back more than $100 in these places. Typically around $40-50.

In Mexico City and Playa del Carmen, costs skyrocket.

Generally, you can expect to pay $5-20 USD to get into a club in either city.

Drinks are damn near as expensive as the ole’ USA in these places, especially when partying in nice areas like Condesa.

It’s not necessarily cost efficient to buy a bottle when partying in Condesa or Playa del Carmen.

For a unique experience, make sure to check out the “mezcalerias” around CDMX…

La Clandestina in Mexico City.

  • Public Transportation, Uber, and More

I can’t lie…

I barely took public transport while in Mexico.

It didn’t matter what city I was in or where I was going, I usually used Uber while in the country.

Why?

Because it costs nothing here.

I could catch a 15-minute Uber ride in rush-hour to the other part of town while living in Mazatlan.

The cost?

$1.50 USD.

Around 30 pesos.

Things were just as cheap in Guadalajara and a couple other small towns I visited.

In CDMX, Uber was just a little bit more expensive. But honestly, I found the service exceptionally reasonable.

Even the ride from the Mexico City airport to my Airbnb only ended up being around $8 USD.

Dirt cheap compared to many other places in the world, where airport taxis rides almost always cost $25 USD.

If you’re living in a city in Mexico, you’ll figure out how public transportation works and save even more money.

But for tourists looking to get around Mexico on the cheap, Uber is the way to go.

Hell, I even would book an Uber 2-3 hours away. For example, my friends and I got an Uber to take use from CDMX to Puebla.

We negotiated to pay the exact same fair back as the ride down.

The driver was thrilled, as he ended up making $70 USD for 6-7 hours of work. Far more than he would have driving around the city all day.

Why I went to Puebla.

  • Gym, Yoga, and More

Staying healthy and fit in Mexico is way cheaper than back home.

Gym memberships range from $20-60 USD a month.

This depends on the city, the style of gym, and location.

Overall, expect to pay $30 bucks for an average gym here.

Where the savings start to add up is when you get holistic with it.

In Mazatlan, an unlimited membership at the yoga studio only costs $24 bucks a month.

That’s nothing! Especially when compared to yoga studios in the USA that cost $120 per month for the same services.

My private pilates classes in Mazatlan cost $15 USD per 75-minute session.

You can’t even enjoy a group Pilates class for $15 back in the States.

Massages are also insanely cheap in Mexico. I was paying anywhere from $16-32 USD for an hour-long deep tissue massage while living south of the border.

  • Healthcare Costs

For many expats curious about the cost of living in Mexico, health care is a major concern.

This can be a hot-button issue for some, so here’s my take:

Finding decent medical care for cheap is easy.

A doctor visit in places like Mazatlan or Guadalajara will cost you around 500-800 pesos out of pocket. Or $25-40 USD.

This would be costs for visiting a specialist, like an orthopedic.

Visits to the chiropractor tend to run $15-20 USD.

You also don’t have to go to the doctor to get medicine from the pharmacy. If you know what you need, just head to a reputable local pharmacy and ask for it.

  • Maid Services

One thing I absolutely loved about living in Mexico?

Having a maid!

For around $20 bucks, a lovely old lady would come directly to your apartment with cleaning supplies and do a deep clean for 5-6 hours.

She clean everything. From the dishes to the sheets and bathrooms.

All for just $20 USD!

I simply sit at my desk and work on my computer while she cleaned my whole place.

It was such a relief to have her come clean each week, allowing my mind to focus on more important things like my online business.

Staying so fresh and so clean in Mexico.

Cost of Living in Mexico | A Gringo’s Guide

Overall…

Mexico is far cheaper than living back in the United States.

Unless you’re living in the nice areas of Mexico City or around the beach in the Mayan Riveria, you should be saving some money and living the good life.

Cost of living in Mexico has gone up over the past few years, even with the strong dollar, but there are still deals to be had living south of the border.

Just make sure you do it right.

Come to Mexico to enjoy some of the finer things in life on the cheap.

Don’t come to Mexico to live like a bum-ass backpacker for $800 bucks a month.

Ya tu sabes.

P.S: Don’t forget to learn some Spanish before you go! Click here to check out the best way to study.

View of the church in Copala, Mexico.

More Mexico content:

Cost of Living in Mazatlan, Mexico - Zona Dorada Edition
How to Find an Airbnb Rental That Might Not Suck | 6 Tips For Noobs
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Jake D

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

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How To Eat Healthy While Traveling Around The Globe | Chief Health - October 3, 2018

[…] example, I was able to get a kilogram of fresh tuna medallions in Mazatlan, Mexico for what would equal $7 […]

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